This study evaluates the embedded liberalism hypothesis in a broad swath of less developed countries (ldc s). The authors find that ldc governments pursue a distinct welfare state policy that protects citizens from economic insecurities associated with global market expansion. Specifically, governments use public employment—and particularly employment in civil services and administration—to foster domestic stability alongside market expansion. However, such jobs are targeted to politically salient groups, not poorer groups that might also face increased economic uncertainty postopenness. In turn, public employment shores up public support for openness. The authors’ findings suggest that free traders have reasons both to celebrate and to bemoan this ldc embedded liberalism compact. On the positive side, ldc governments are working hard to maintain political support for free trade; on the other hand, the compromise of protecting privileged groups at the expense of others in society raises questions about the long-term sustainability of their strategy.